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American College of Trial Lawyers Installs Samuel H. Franklin as its 68th President

September 17, 2017

The American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL), one of the premier professional organizations composed of preeminent trial lawyers from the U.S. and Canada, has installed Samuel H. Franklin, of Lightfoot, Franklin & White, LLC in Birmingham, Alabama, as its 68th President to lead the College during the coming year.

The College also elected five new members to its Board of Regents at its 67th Annual Meeting in Montreal. The new Regents, who join 10 existing Regents, include Susan S. Brewer of Steptoe & Johnson PLLC (Morgantown, WV); John A. Day of Law Offices of John Day, P.C. (Brentwood, TN); Richard H. Deane, Jr. of Jones Day (Atlanta, GA); Mona T. Duckett, Q.C. of Dawson, Duckett, Shaigec & Garcia (Edmonton, AB); and Martin F. Murphy of Foley Hoag LLP (Boston, MA).

“It is my great privilege and honor to serve as the 68th President of the College,” said Franklin. “My 25 years as a Fellow have been truly rewarding, and I look forward to continuing the College’s efforts to identify and consider new candidates with a focus upon younger, diverse lawyers. We will remain vigilant and true to the College’s mission and, if appropriate, address topics where our voice can add value to the support for an independent judiciary and the administration of justice.”

At its Annual Meeting the College elected its Executive Committee. Franklin succeeds Bartholomew J. Dalton of Dalton & Associates, P.A. as President. Mr. Dalton becomes the Immediate Past President. The College also elected Jeffrey S. Leon, LSM of Bennett Jones LLP (Toronto, ON) as President-Elect, Douglas R. Young of Farella Braun + Martel LLP (San Francisco, CA) as Treasurer and Rodney Acker of Norton Rose Fulbright US (Dallas, TX) as Secretary.

About Sam Franklin

Franklin was admitted to the Alabama Bar in 1972, where he was in private practice for 17 years before becoming a founding partner of Lightfoot, Franklin & White in 1990. Among many high-profile cases, he argued for Auburn University when the State of Alabama prioritized K-12 education over higher education in the proration funding crisis; for R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and other manufacturers in smoking and health litigation; and most recently for ExxonMobil when the State of Alabama sought to impose punitive damages in a dispute over the calculation of royalty payments.

Franklin graduated, with High Honors, from Auburn University in 1969 and received his law degree in 1972 from the University of Alabama School of Law. He was a member of the Alabama Law Review, serving as Managing Editor during his third year of law school, and was Order of the Coif. He then received his LL.M Degree from Harvard University in 1973.

A former President of the Alabama Defense Lawyers Association, Franklin has been active in State Bar matters, including serving as a member of the Board of Bar Commissioners from 1991 through 2000; a member of the Board of Disciplinary Appeals of the Alabama State Bar from 2000 to 2008; President of the Alabama Law Foundation, and a Fellow in both the American Bar and Alabama Law Foundations. He has been listed for years in various categories in The Best Lawyers in America: Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Personal Injury Litigation, and Product Liability Litigation. Franklin is listed in The International Who’s Who Legal: Litigation, and Chambers USA recognizes him as a Leading Individual for Litigation (Alabama). Franklin is also a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, and was awarded the Peter Perlman Service Award from that organization.

In recent years, Franklin has been active in fundraising efforts to assist various legal organizations as part of his commitment to improving access to civil justice for Alabama’s most needy citizens. In 2006, he received the Commissioners Award from the State Bar recognizing his service to the profession. He currently serves on the board of the Birmingham Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Program, has served as Chairman of the BVLP Private Bar Campaign for 2013, and was part of the leadership for the same campaign for 2016.

About the American College of Trial Lawyers

The American College of Trial Lawyers is composed of the best of the trial bar from the United States and Canada and is widely considered to be the premier professional trial organization in North America. Founded in 1950, the College is an invitation only fellowship. The College thoroughly investigates each nominee for admission and selects only those who have demonstrated the very highest standards of trial advocacy, ethical conduct, integrity, professionalism and collegiality. The College maintains and seeks to improve the standards of trial practice, professionalism, ethics, and the administration of justice through education and public statements on important legal issues relating to its mission. The College strongly supports the independence of the judiciary, trial by jury, respect for the rule of law, access to justice, and fair and just representation of all parties to legal proceedings. Learn more at

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